February 5, 2012

European spring is over

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Picture: Transparency arrived at its final resting place

The European Parliament has sent me the legal service’s opinion on ACTA. It is almost completely blacked out.

On 4 October the Legal Affairs committee requested the opinion of the Parliament’s legal service on ACTA. The service concluded the opinion on 8 December. I requested the document on 10 December.

On 19 December the Legal Affairs committee decided to make the opinion public.

There was a first indication things were going wrong on 11 January. The Parliament’s register wrote me: “Due to ongoing consultations in view of disclosure of the requested documents, we would like to inform you that in accordance with Article 7(3) of Regulation 1049/2001, we need to extend the reply’s time limit by adding 15 working days.”

On 4 February (letter dated 31.1) I received the blacked out document. Apparently, the Legal Affairs committee’s decision was overridden. By whom? Probably by the Parliament’s Bureau.

Does it matter, since we already have the document? Yes, it does. I also received replies given by the legal service to International Trade committee questions. And yes, the document is almost fully blacked out as well.

This is a grave matter. The FFII analysed the legal service’s opinion on ACTA, and found that the legal service consistently overlooked known issues with ACTA.

The legal service can now go on with providing intellectually dishonest opinions in secret. Opinions which may seriously influence the decision making process.

The Union has aspects of an empire. It has a democratic deficit. And the Parliament isn’t helpful at all.

5 thoughts on “European spring is over

  1. I guess they overlooked that the Parliament Committee decided to release the documents. The Parliament Committee decided to explicitly to publish them because it owned the documents to make them public. It took extraordinary actions.

    Your process is an application request via 1049, that is the normal rules and they of course didn’t consider that the parliament committee had already made them public, because they didn’t know.

    I think you cannot blame the parliament administration and the European Parliament with its members in one box. Concerning “democratic deficit”, it is admitted and the European Parliament is the body which could lower it.

  2. @Andre, please explain in plain language what you mean?
    I don’t understand your comment.

  3. With all other documents, the register replied within 15 working days. Not this time. They needed more time.

    The 11 January email said: “Due to ongoing consultations in view of disclosure of the requested documents”.

    Both the Legal Affairs committee and the legal service knew the documents were published. I can not imagine ongoing consultations without at least one of them involved.

  4. Who is “the Parliament”. It often depends on whose desk the dossier ends. “Confirmatory applications” are usually processed by different desks.

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